2

Things feel like they’re coming together

I had my ECG & am waiting for the results now. I think as soon as they come in I’ll have to have a GP appt, & then I can ask for a printout of the cardiologists report so I can have my own copy of that too.

They give you a diary to fill out every time you experience symptoms; it had 25 slots & by the end of day 1 I had completely filled it 😂

I had numerous seizures related to my heart rate & lots of heart rate spikes whilst wearing it, so let’s hope I get a knowledgeable cardiologist who has actually heard of postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, & who will write a good letter to my GP!! It will also be my first GP appt seeing my Dr in my wheelchair, & even though my chair has been fantastic & given me some semblance of a life back, I’m worried how my GP will react to it, because y’know what the NHS is like 🙄

I finally have my disabled travel (rail) pass on the way, yaaay. And that should be here in 4-6 days 🙂

I’m still waiting for my 24 hour EEG appt to come through…I guess it’s good to double check for electrical activity, but given I’m 90% sure my seizures are physiologic (caused by lack of oxygen to my brain & vastly dropping blood pressure, due to POTS), I’m not too worried/excited about the results. I kinda wish we’d had the opportunity to fricking talk with the neurologist, so I could explain about POTS, but again – y’know what the NHS is like! My first neurologist left after my first appt last year, & we haven’t seen/spoken to another since as there’s apparently a shortage of neurologists…so basically he has no idea about any of my new medical diagnoses or investigations.

Also we tried to swap which hospital my neuro appts get referred to…basically the stupid fucking Dr sending the referral last summer (who was an uber bitch!) sent me to the neurologist hospital that is 90+ minutes away, rather than the one that is 15 minutes away…like?! 😂

When one of the nurses told us we could have been sent to the local hospital, & asked why we were having to travel so far, we were flabbergasted! We asked her how we’d go about switching, and she said it would be easy & to do it through our GP surgery.

We get in touch with them & start the ball rolling, & I get an email a few days later saying if we ask to be switched, the whooole process will start from scratch & I’ll be waiting ten months to see a neurologist!!! What the fuck?! But this isn’t even our fault?! 😂

It should be noted that Dr Footitt has never met me & only knows my case from notes on my file…so why a Dr at the nearby hospital couldn’t pick it up from my file like he did, I have no idea 🙄

The only reason it’s worth us switching is because we literally *can’t* get to that hospital unless we get a lift, which requires my parents taking a day off work…and obviously that’s not really an option.

So. We’re gonna try get the EEG out the way & get the results, then start the process of switching…eesh 🙄

Mentally I’m still a huge mess, & all the issues last February with benefits & having to have so many appts with the NHS (BOTH of which trigger mood episodes, panic attacks, & scheme anxiety) have still left me battling my bipolar in a way I haven’t had to in so long. And yes, it’s mid-July now, five months later, and I’m STILL unbalanced from that 😥

Currently I’m in a depressive episode that started at the end of June, but I’m fighting hard & Lyle is doing all he can to help…we’ll get through this!

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0

Things have been difficult, but I am back!

An angry update against the NHS 😉

I first went to see a GP about my seizures last summer.

I saw an awful old witch of a Dr, who spent the 10min appt glaring at the scars from decade-old self harm on my arm, saying my seizures just looked like I was watching TV, & asking repeatedly about my mental health.

We later found that on the neurology referral this Dr had already said I was having “psychogenic seizures” (that is, triggered by emotion, stress, mental illness – we’d told her my emotions didn’t affect my seizures, of course). She also mentioned in the referral that I had self harm scars in full view (it was summer, I was wearing a t-shirt due to the heat!!), & referred to my seizures as “funny turns”.

Since then, when discussing my seizures with *every* GP, it was a battle to remind them my seizures weren’t diagnosed as ‘psychogenic’. I had one GP tell me numerous times “psychogenic seizures aren’t voluntary, it’s a fight or flight response”, “you can’t help it, you’re not doing it on purpose”, & she wanted to refer me to a psychologist to help me overcome “past trauma” that was triggering these ‘episodes’.

I wanted to scream!

STOP INSISTING THEY’RE PSYCHOGENIC SEIZURES, ESPECIALLY WHEN YOU LITERALLY JUST ADMITTED YOU KNOW NOTHING ABOUT MH. STFU!

My neurologist was the only one who was respectful. She wasn’t happy at all with how long I’d had to wait, that I’d been left alone like this, & that the GPs had jumped to psychogenic seizures.

In the year-long wait it took to get an EEG, I discovered that I had POTS. That is, Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome.

And hey, what do you know, there’s an entire bracket of non epileptic seizures that was overlooked simply because I have bipolar disorder!! Physiological non epileptic seizures, triggered by conditions that cause physical changes – usually blood pressure, oxygen to the brain, or blood sugar…OH HELLO POTS!!

(this is my hr when I stand up)

After being told, repeatedly, that my seizures were ‘all in my head’, & that my mh is the cause, it turns out they’re triggered by a physical condition. And once again I had to discover that myself, because the NHS missed it completely. They were too busy blaming my bipolar disorder for everything 🙄

All the symptoms I’d been to the Dr’s about (heart palpitations & dizziness first, in 2010), I was told were caused by my mental illness. I’ve been getting sicker & sicker, and nobody would listen or take me seriously…I have a mental illness, obviously that means I’m immune to physical conditions?!

This way of thinking is absolutely not okay!!!

I shouldn’t HAVE to research & diagnose all my fucking conditions. I shouldn’t have to find ways to prove them to Dr’s at appts…Dr’s who then become so worried, because my HR is so high when I’m just sat in a chair, that they push me for an emergency ECG in case my life is in danger!!

We can’t keep blaming any and all symptoms on MH, simply because the person has a diagnosed mental health condition/s. I’ve been left totally alone with zero support for my seizures (dozens every single day) for over a year. My life crumbled to nothing. I’ve had falls, black eyes, bruises, dislocated fingers in falls…and it was blamed on my MH, it was blamed on me!

Now I know I have Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome, my life has actually improved. I know why my seizures happen, & although I can’t prevent them, I’m able to go out and enjoy more because I have a wheelchair now. For the first time in years I can be around light, I can go to museums, I can eat out. The wheelchair keeps my heart rate lower than if I was standing/walking, it allows me to rest when needed, & if I have a seizure because my HR gets too high, I can’t fall. It’s AMAZING, and it all got missed.

For a year I couldn’t go out, socialise, go shopping. I haven’t been able to go to the cinema since 2015. I was living in darkness, because we thought it was the light triggering my seizures – think about it, when you’re around lights (sunlight through trees, fluorescent lights, flashing lights), you’re outside, which means you’re standing & walking. Which meant I was having seizures. I’m also more photosensitive due to my POTS, so we weren’t that far off the mark.

For over a year I didn’t go anywhere, I sat in the dark…and I was left like that! Because the NHS jumped immediately to psychogenic seizures, because I have a mh condition. I missed out on a year of my life!

Yes, I am pissed off. No, this isn’t okay.

Thank god me and Lyle are strong, are resilient, & have found a way to make life liveable!

2

A good day

I actually had a good day today, although I’m paying for meeting up with relatives for 4 hours – very exhausted and seizey now!

Once we got home my bf called the company conducting my assessment for PIP, and the woman on the phone was just lovely and so helpful.

Firstly we asked if there was a way to move my assessment from the city 50 minutes away (where they gave us the appt) to the city 15 minutes away. Being out the house for longer triggers an increase in seizures; being on transport for any amount of time triggers an increase in seizures…so I couldn’t do that.

Anyway, they moved my assessment across really easily…which begs the question of why they were sending us further away in the first place?!

Next we had to ask about allowances in the assessment room. This would either be a room with no windows and dimmed lighting or a room with covered windows and dimmed lighting – failing that, a desk I can sit under andhide hide from the light 😂

The woman put that on file and their appointments team should be calling us in the next few days to talk about what they can do.

Finally we needed to ask about recording the assessment. The fact I have seizures means my memory is hugely affected, and I can’t remember things like I used to. An assessment is stressful, and not remembering what was said would be terrifying for me…however PIP sent us a booklet of rules, and one was that if you want to record the assessment you have to let them know in advance and use a recording device that provides two hard copies (CD or cassette) BY THE END OF THE ASSESSMENT.

So. We don’t have anything that could do this, and we can’t afford to buy a recording device. The woman’s going to ask if we can use a phone to record, and if not then my bf will be writing everything said by hand…meaning the assessment will last twice as long, but what can we do? 😅

Exhausted. Yawn.

4

I despise my parents

Parents should be the people you can rely on most in life to support you…I’m reaching breaking point with my parents yet again 😑

They’re completely unsupportive, which we already knew, but the worst is when I’m telling them something difficult (that I’ve had a lot of seizures, or that I feel extremely sad, that I can’t cope with how poor my quality of life is)…they don’t respond, they don’t care. I called yesterday afternoon and was almost in tears, because sometimes I’m just so overwhelmed by how limited my life is, so lovely…and they were not responding to things I said and YAWNING down the phone at me!

When I hung up, after an incredibly upsetting, frustrating phonecall, they didn’t bother to get in touch or ask how I was at all…my partner stupidly thought they might text and check in, I knew they wouldn’t.

No matter how many times I try explain what my life is like or how awful my seizures are, they can’t grasp it at all, there’s never a hint of understanding or sympathy. Anytime I talk about being disabled I’m met with silence, whistling, or a change of subject. It’s absolutely disgusting.

On some level I know they either care, or want to appear to others (family) as if they care (this charade is *hugely* important to them)…but I can’t do it anymore. I’m tired of having to parent them, of listening to their issues and sympathising with them, whilst I get nothing in return. I’m struggling to live with 12-25 seizures a day, mourning the loss of my independence & any semblance of a life…I just can’t do it.

I tried to ring my dad today to ask about a recording device. I got my PIP letter through (whole other story which I’ll try post about) and the only way they let you record the consultation (which I need otherwise I’ll remember none of it) is if the device creates two hard copies of the recording by the end of the assessment – cassette or CD.

I wanted to ask my dad if he had anything he could lend or any ideas what we could use; he let the phone ring then hung up, twice, and hasn’t attempted to get in touch since 🙄

I put up with an abusive childhood and forgave them. I put up with them mocking my self-harm as a young teen, and forgave them. I put up with them screaming at me when I disclosed my mental health condition, and forgave them. I put up with their entire lack of support or interest when I started having seizures, and forgave them.

But I’m gonna have to have a break, at least for a little while. Putting up with their shit is so bad for my mental health.

If I sound like a whiny dick, I’m sorry. I’ve just put up with too much shit for so long, and sometimes it’s way, way too much.

2

Preparing for my appt

Guys I am SO SCARED about this appt!!!!

I’m not even totally sure why. The day’s gonna be a big day out, which will make me sicker so that won’t be nice…but I’m just so stressed that I’m gonna get fobbed off and not taken seriously again. I just want to get to the bottom of these seizures and to get a diagnosis. I don’t care if I have epilepsy or PNES, I just want to *know* so I can hopefully get treatment that works and we can have a better life…

I don’t want them to diagnose me with epilepsy if they’re non-epileptic seizures, because that means taking strong, pointless medication. But I don’t want them to immediately jump to a diagnosis of PNES based purely on my diagnosis of bipolar, because then my brain could be damaged by so many seizures or they could progress to tonic clonic if untreated. I basically want to be taken seriously and given the right diagnosis!!

I’m so scared about this appt XD

We went to my bf’s parents last night and my new welder’s goggles did really well with the various lights. I had an awful cluster partway through the night, which could have been because a light was flashing down the back/side of the goggles…but I was able to recover from that within about half an hour and enjoy the rest of the night again, slowly returning to normal 🙂

My partner filmed some of it for the neurologist appt too!

0

Oh ffs

Thanks to the inordinate amount of stress I’m dealing with atm, it was always gonna trigger a depressive episode.

But it still really, really, REALLY sucks that it’s happened.

This is the last thing I needed right now 😞

I’m tired of my life being so, so limited. 

I’m tired of having dozens of seizures every day and living with all the after effects. Of living in fear. Of being unable to do anything for myself. Of having so little support from the NHS. Of benefits HEAPING stress onto my already difficult life. Of family & friends being totally oblivious to how awful everything is. Of my parents lacking all caring. 

I’m sick of everything…

I’m already scared of how this depressive episode is gonna go.. I hope it’s ended before Christmas 😭